City eyes budget to avoid tax increase

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, August 9, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Orange City Council has received the proposed budget for the 2017/2018 fiscal year.

Council also voted on a proposed tax rate of 0.71774. The current tax rate is 0.70940. The city has not had a tax increase in three years.

The possibility of an increase is due to expected health care costs and a two percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for city employees.

“I was told do what I have to do to not lay anyone off,” City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre said.

Bids for health care are expected to known in the near future. The city hopes the costs will not be as high as anticipated which could lower the proposed tax rate.

Council still has opportunities to lower the budgetary needs for the city.

The budget currently consists of projects the council would like to see accomplished in the coming year.

The proposed tax rate had to pass with 60 percent, five members, voting aye. The entire council voted Aye.

“Before voting, we are not voting on a budget today, correct,” Council member Brad Childs asked. “We are just receiving a copy of the proposed budget.”

Oubre confirmed the budget presented to the council was only a preliminary, proposed budget.

“You can still reduce the tax rate through budgets,” Oubre said. “We are hoping the bids [for health care costs] will bring good news.”

The first hearing, for citizens to express their views on the proposed tax rate is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, at the Orange Public Library Auditorium. The second hearing will be at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the same location.